Game: Aston Villa vs Blackburn
Competition: FA Cup Third Round
Kickoff: January 2, 15:00 GMT
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Both Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers were knocked out in the fifth round of the FA Cup last season. Both managers would like to take their side further into the competition this season, but only one can succeed as Villa host Blackburn in an all-Premiership encounter in the FA Cup Third Round.
Aston Villa – recent form
v. Liverpool (Loss 0-1)
v. Arsenal (Loss 0-3)
v. Stoke (Win 1-0) Carew
v. Sunderland (Win 2-0) Milner,Heskey
Although Villa have lost their last two, don’t let the record fool you. Martin O’Neill’s men have been in fine form throughout the season and are sixth in the League. Villa play Blackburn thrice in twenty days – once in this game and then in two FA Cup semifinals. Blackburn have already beaten them once this season in the League, so Martin O’Neill better watch out.
Emile Heskey will be a doubtful starter for the game with a groin strain. Wilfred Bouma, Chris Gardner and Curtis Davies are long term absentees.
Blackburn – recent form
v. Sunderland (Draw 2-2) Pedersen,Diouf
v. Wigan (Draw 1-1) Mccarthy
v. Tottenham (Loss 0-2)
v. Birmingham (Loss 1-2) Nelsen
Rovers have failed to win in their last nine games (in all competitions). And Big Sam made it quite clear that his focus is more on the League Cup semi than anything else. “Certainly the priority this month is the semi-final of the Carling Cup, there is no danger about that,” Allardyce said.
Franco Di Santo has just extended his loan deal with the club, and in all possibility will start against Villa. Blackburn will be without the midfield trio of Dunn, Emerton and Grella, who are all struggling with injuries.
Match Verdict: It is a very difficult one to predict, as you never know how Blackburn would approach the game,especially in the light of the comments made by Big Sam. A safer bet would be to bank on the home side.
Villa 1-0 Blackburn (Agbonlahor)